The idea that social hierarchy is a hallmark of civilization sounds like some kind of manifest destiny patriarchal BS to me, but it may very well be what the writers of textbooks thought.

Beginning some 9,500 years ago, in roughly 7500 B.C., and continuing for nearly two millennia, people came together at Çatalhöyük to build hundreds of tightly clustered mud-brick houses, burying their dead beneath the floors and adorning the walls with paintings, livestock skulls and plaster reliefs.

Mysterious, fascinating objects are still being uncovered at Çatalhöyük. The prize of the 2015 dig season was a head modeled out of plaster and adorned with obsidian eyes. Though the site’s earliest residents are known to have applied plaster and ochre to the actual skulls of their dead, an artifact like this — found “watching over” what researchers think was a storehouse — had not been seen before.

“It’s my belief that farming brings with it a new sense of property, ownership, and dominion. Whatever psychological twist it takes to say that another creature is “mine” and the children born to it “belong” to me because I “own” their mother, is easily extended to justify the subjugation of other humans.”

I would generally concur with this, although that particular society seemed to actively temper those impulses that agriculture tends to bring. More about that in the above-linked article, although that’s a clickbait title. It wasn’t a Utopia and they speak to that. It was apparently a rather conformist society.

I guess it depends who you ask about the religion because this type of question is rarely settled amongst scholars, but I’ve read two books, which both heavily site other anthropologists and scholars that say the same thing: As in Paleolithic art, female figurines and symbols occupy a central position in the art of Catal Huyuk, where shrines to the Goddess and Goddess figurines are found everywhere. Moreover, Goddess figurines are characteristic of Neolithic art in other areas of the Near and Middle East.

Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade . HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

The ubiquitous Bull is the consort of the goddess.

But the term Indo-European has stuck. It characterizes a long line of invasions from the Asiatic and European north by nomadic peoples. Ruled by powerful priests and warriors, they brought with them their male gods of war and mountains. And as Aryans in India, Hittites and Mittani in the Fertile Crescent, Luwians in Anatolia, Kurgans in eastern Europe, Achaeans and later Dorians in Greece, they gradually imposed their ideologies and ways of life on the lands and peoples they conquered.9

Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade . HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

I’m not naive enough to think that we can magically transform back into a partnership-oriented society but there are some impulses to that end afoot, particularly in the business world, which is a bit hopeful because society follows the money.

In slower moving and less complex business environments the old hierarchical model that depended mostly on only a few people at the top for leadership simply doesn’t work anymore. In today’s more volatile, uncertain and ambiguous business battlefield, decentralized controls and leadership through networks of people at all levels is imperative for success.


Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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